Tuesday, December 24, 2013

merry christmas + cranberry cream scone breakfast

merry christmas to you!

i hope you are snuggly warm with mugs of hot spiked liquids and listening to vince guaraldi trio and spooning with your favorite person at the same time.

on this lovely day, i'll be wearing the same thing for the 3rd day in a row because my bag has been lost by the airlines.
i'm thinking i must have done some terrible things in a past life. 

these cranberry cream scones would be a joy to have on christmas morning.
they're so good that eating one might make me momentarily forget that i might be wearing this same stupid dress for another 6 days.

they are my most favorite basic cream scone. with some sliced sugared cranberries, some orange zest. 
as they sat out to cool, i brushed the tops with maple syrup. not necessary by any means, but, c'mon.

Cranberry Cream Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
bit of orange zest
5 tbsp cold butter, cut into cubes
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup fresh cranberries, halved (i used leftover sugared cranberries)
maple syrup (optional), for brushing

preheat oven to 400. place flour, baking powder, sugar, zest, and salt in bowl or work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. whisk together or pulse six times. 
if making by hand, use a pastry blender or fork to quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few larger butter clumps. if using a food processor, remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. transfer dough to a large bowl. add in cranberries and toss to distribute. 

stir in the cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough just forms together. transfer dough and all the dry, floury bits to a floured countertop and knead dough a bit by hand until it comes together in a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds.  pat the dough on a floured work surface into a 3/4 inch thick circle, and cut circles out with a biscuit cutter. 
place scone rounds on an ungreased baking sheet lined with parchment, sprinkle the tops with white or raw sugar, and bake until tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. serve warm or at room temperature. 

brush tops with some maple syrup. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

avocado smoked salmon cucumber toast

my leg is asleep but i'm too lazy to change positions.

i still love stripes.
i still love baggy clothing.
i still like Subway.

but i'll take avocado toast over subway any and every day.

thick toasted bread. avocado mashed with a bit of lemon juice and salt.
drizzle of olive oil.
more salt.
hot smoked salmon.
a little siracha.
two basil leaves.
thin slices of cucumber.

boom. cool.

Monday, December 16, 2013

salty caramel ice cream + julia's banana bread

ice cream is my favorite dessert in the world.

for someone who thinks about flavors as much as i do, the jeni's book is most definitely inspiring.
i definitely nod to myself each time i look through it.

i chose salty caramel to make first.
it's close your eyes good. it's gone now and i miss having it in my arms.

having 2 pints of ice cream was an excuse to make a banana loaf to pile it on.
having a banana loaf was an excuse to keep shoveling back salty caramel ice cream.
damn you life and your vicious cycles

julia's banana bread. not mine, this julia is far more tan.
julia's banana bread is a green hut on the side of the road in hawaii.
they only sell banana bread.
the recipe was published in bon appetit about a year ago and i've finally gotten to it.

the recipe couldn't be simpler. no butter, just oil for fat.

julia's banana bread is Exactly what banana bread IS, yo.
no nuts, no glazes. dense and sturdy, tender, full of squiggly banana flecks.

banana bread. salty caramel ice cream.
this was an easy win.

Salty Caramel Ice Cream
from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

2 cups whole milk
1 tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces (3 tbsp) cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tbsp light corn syrup
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Dump sugar into a medium pot and place over low-medium heat. Stand over the pan of sugar with a heatproof spatula ready, but do not touch the sugar until there is a full layer of melted and browning liquid sugar on the bottom with a smaller layer of unmelted white sugar on the top. When the edges of the melted sugar begin to darken, use the spatula to bring them into the center to help melt the unmelted sugar. Continue stirring and pushing the sugar around until it is all melted and evenly amber in color — like an old penny. When little bubbles begin to explode with dark smoke, give the sugar another moment and then remove from the heat. Immediately but slowly pour about 1/4 cup of the cream and corn syrup mixture into the burning-hot sugar. Be careful! It will pop and spit! Stir until it is incorporated, then add a bit more cream and stir, then continue until it is all in.
Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.
Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.
Mix the cream with the corn syrup in a measuring cup with a spout.
Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Heat the sugar in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat until it is melted and golden amber in color (see note above). Remove from the heat and, stirring constantly, slowly add a bit of the cream and corn syrup mixture to the caramel: It will fizzle, pop, and spurt. Stir until well combined, then add a little more and stir. Keep adding the cream a little at a time until all of it is incorporated.
Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the milk. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
Bring back to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. If any caramel flecks remain, pour the mixture through a sieve.
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and whisk. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
Pour into frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.
Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid.
Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Julia's Banana Bread
from Julia's Banana Bread Treehouse in Kahakuloa, HI, recipe here

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large)
3/4 cup vegetable oil

preheat oven to 350 degreesF. Coat a 9x5 loaf pan with nonstick spray. whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a large medium bowl. whisk eggs, sugar, bananas, and oil in a large bowl until smooth. add dry ingredients to banana mixture and stir just until combine. scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. 

bake until a tester inserted into the center of bread comes out clean, 60-70 minutes. transfer to a wire rack; let bread cool in pan for 15 minutes. run a knife around inside of pan to release bread. turn out onto rack and cool completely. will keep  stored at room temperature of for 3 days. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

december, what?

oh what?


i've been making a lot of pie and testing out lipsticks at cvs.

november has come and went and i miss it. november is better than december.

see: november beach.

and thanksgiving.

it was a good time. every year we have the same 40ish person thanksgiving with neighbors and friends. there's always a cocktail hour with stray pitchers of margaritas.
there's always smoked turkey and drunk parents.
someone attempted the twerk.
and i made round dessert.

the larger bear is me and the little bear is a day-after-thanksgiving sandwich.

here is the part where i geek out on desserts. 

01. this pumpkin layer cake. sugared cranberries for the top. dang these are good, they win best holiday garnish.

02. the pumpkin pie.
in actuality it's a butternut squash pie. i'd been wanting to try out this butternut squash pie recipe.
no one would know it's not pumpkin pie, and i dig the pinch of cayenne in the spices.

03. sticky toffee puddings baked in mini bundts at work.

04. salted caramel cheesecake pie. base recipe found here. i used a graham crust insted of gingersnap.
i cut the sugar to 1 cup. i used this extra salty caramel for the caramel puddle. and generously doused the top with maldon to finish (right before serving!)
dare i say, i think this pie could be even better. it's screaming for you to throw cation to the wind and add in a dense cakey brownie layer.
to serve it, i showered the top with them sugared cranberries to cut some of the richness. i didn't get to try it with the cranberries because i was too full and it disappeared fast. but in my head it tastes awesome.

05. apple crostata. aka. free-form apple pie with crumb topping. i used ina garten's recipe, it was straightforward and classic ina buttery deliciousness.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

apple hazelnut frangipane tarts

frangipane is essentially nut goo.

nut goo: a nut paste that is enriched with butter, sugar, and eggs. that becomes soft cream to fill in pastries and tarts and things.

frangipane tends to be almond, but goo can be made with any nut really.

these tarts could be the easiest thing to happen to your thanksgiving. and the cutest. teehee.

apple hazelnut frangipane tarts.

yes we can.

Apple Hazelnut Frangipane Tarts

1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted
a couple apples, fuji or granny smith, peeled, sliced 1/4 inch
sugar, for sprinkling
apricot jam 

for the hazelnut frangipane: i mixed together half a can of hazelnut paste, a beaten egg, 2 tbsp melted butter, a couple tablespoons of sugar, a pinch of salt, and 2 tablespoons of flour. 

preheat oven to 400 degreesF. cut the pastry into 6 rectangles. prick with a fork in the centers. spread on a few dollops of the frangipane down the center of each tart. lay the apple slices along each one. sprinkle sugar over apples. 
bake until puffed and golden. 

press a dollop of apricot jam through a strainer, brush the smooth jam on the apple tarts to give them a pretty glistening look. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013


roses are red. tulips are pink or orange.
joseph s.
you are awesome.

happy 8 years of driving around in this truck together.

i want to make you coconut things forever and ever.

Monday, November 18, 2013

vanilla bean bourbon pudding

baking is comfort, the warmth from turning on the oven,
the dries and the wets melt together.
watching things rise and puff.

but some days are pudding days.
days for turning the flame on low and lurking over a pot of hot liquid.
stirring and stirring, babying it, never leaving it's side.

and now,
when it's november and the weather keeps doing what it's doing,
any day can be a pudding day.

vanilla beans and bourbon make this pudding a luxury.

the moment milk transforms into gloopy beautiful custard...
it's like whoooaaaa, this is totally pudding man.

i ate some and soon realized i had too much and in a stroke of sweet genius tipped it into a graham cracker crust layered with sliced banonos.
top it with whipped cream and you have a damn classy bourbon banana cream pie.

Vanilla Bourbon Pudding
adapted from smitten kitchen

2 2/3 cups whole milk, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
1 large egg
2 tsp bourbon

bring 2 cups of the milk to a soft boil in a medium saucepan. while it is heating, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, and the vanilla bean (if you're replacing it with extract, don't add it yet) in the bottom of a medium, heatproof bowl. gradually whisk in the remaining 2/3 cup milk, a little at a time so lumps don't form, then whisk in the egg. once milk is boiling, very gradually add it to the cornstarch mixture in the bowl, whisking constantly. 

return the mixture back to the saucepan, stirring constantly with a silicon spatula. once it comes to a simmer, cook for one minute longer (which will cook the cornstarch and egg fully.) stir in the bourbon and vanilla extract (if using). divide pudding in a bowl or among individual dishes and chill in refrigerator until fully set, about 2 hours. press a piece of plastic wrap directly against the top surface of the puddings so as to prevent a skin from forming. 

eat some. then make a pudding pie.

to make a Vanilla Bourbon Pudding + Banana Cream Pie:

Make a graham cracker crust by mixing graham cracker crumbs with a bit of sugar and pinch of salt. then slowly stir in melted butter until it resembles wet sand and clumps together if you squeeze it in your hands. press it into a pie plate or tin and bake for about 10ish minutes. 
oR buy a pre-done graham crust. whatever gives. no one's watching. 

fill the bottom with sliced bananas. then pour in some pudding over the top. then top with some barely sweet whipped cream. 
caramel would be good too. also pecans...a pecan graham crust, do that. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

i'm eating too fast again

the feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. it is on the contrary born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. when we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything else - we are the busiest people in the world."

.eric hoffler.

i find myself feeling hurried a lot. and then more anxious about feeling hurried.

tomorrow i will (try the most to) not feel hurried.
i will go to work and make peace with the morning and then make bagels and brioche and feel the ease of a sunday.
and later in the night, feel the ease of a sundae.
with birthday cake.

wassuP NOW stress?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


paris is most definitely everything. that is why, it's paris. 
the absolute aesthetic perfection of this place makes my brain hurt. 

we rented a small bright studio in monmartre. 
it overlooked a lovely cemetery. le sacre coeur peaked out from the trees. 
it obviously felt like heaven. 

we ate croissants in the morning, roasted chickens at night, and cheese All the time. 
we hung around pigalle, with all its little shops and cafes, bookstores and bars. and rose bakery

we saw youth lagoon play in parc de la villette. 
parisian hipsters are the most chic hipsters. 

we were there for bastille day. fireworks out our window, parisian rejoicing, and a bloody mary bastille afternoon. 

oh, those 8 days in paris. when life was more simple, chic, and well-lit.

tres bien fucking times.